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Meryl Streep Funds Screenwriting Lab for Women Over 40

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Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Meryl Streep has been vocal about ageism in Hollywood, but now she’s making a move to fight it.

Called the Writers Lab, this new program seeks to develop screenplays by female writers who are 40 years old or older. According to Variety, Streep made a “significant” contribution to pay for the program, which is being run by the nonprofit New York Women in Film & Television and the filmmaking collective IRIS.

Applicants can submit scripts between May 1 and June 1, and the eight winning writers will work with mentors such as Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde), Jessica Bendinger (Bring it On), Mary Jane Skalski (The Station Agent) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights) at a retreat in Lake George, New York, September 18-20. Details on applying can be found here.

In December, Streep, 65, told PEOPLE that “youth-obsessed” culture has made employment difficult for people older than 40.

“When I was 40, I was offered three witch [roles],” she said in reference to her performance as a witch in 2014’s Into the Woods. “I was not offered any female adventurers or love interests or heroes or demons. I was offered witches because I was ‘old’ at 40.”

According to the official website, this is the only program of its kind. “The Writers Lab evolved in recognition of the absence of the female voice in narrative film, along with the dearth of support for script development,” the site reads. “The lab offers 8 promising films by women over 40 a springboard to production.”

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